IGS PANDANET is suporting The Nihon-Ki-in professional player Yuki Shigeno who is trying to increase Go population in abroad.
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Go tour in Spain
From winter in Milan where you can see your breath, it takes an hour and a half to Spain. Barcelona, Spain, facing the Mediterranean Sea was so warm that I did not need a coat or a pullover. With the full sunshine, I felt relaxed naturally.
For 1 week in the middle of November, with a tour group of Go led by Mr.Baba, 9 dan, professional, from Nihon Ki-in Chubu Area, I visited 2 cities, Mallorca Island and Barcelona for support.
Mallorca Island
Mr.Baba, 9 dan is very enthusiastic about popularizing Go in Chubu Area. Especially, for the last few years, he formed a society to popularize Go to children and his activities varies, including helping children's tournaments and establishing a teachers' organization. Since I belong to the same Chubu Area, he took care of me when I was an Insei and he is my respected senior. (dai senpai)
A friend of Mr.Baba, Mr.Mikami who owns Mikami Travel in Madrid, the capital of Spain, is 8 dan (really strong) and he has been working on popularizing Go for more than 30 years in Spain while at the same time working as a travel agent. It is no exaggeration to say that he is the founder of the Spanish Go world. Through the team work of those 2, Mr.Baba and Mr.Mikami, this fun and deluxe Go tour was organized.
Mr.Baba 9 dan
The members of the tour were gathered by Mr.Baba who always has a good reputation in teaching Go. There were 40 of them who gathered! 30 of them play Go. 15 of them were females. That's very colorful, isn't it? Because it was quite a big group of people, it was a little difficult to travel and to arrange meals. But it was fun with a lot of people.
This trip was lively and filled with laughter.
On the first day, we arrived at Barcelona late at night and we moved to Mallorca Island the next morning.
Palma de Mallorca
Tall palm trees welcomed us as the Island is called Palma de Mallorca.
This old island where we were told that people have been living 5-6000 years ago was influenced by Arabic and Roman culture over the Mediterranean Sea and it prospered as a trading point. This island has very interesting places, not only blue sea and beaches but also many historic spots and culture.
Mr.Tanabe who has lived in Madrid for over 20 years guided us. He is 4 dan and he started Go seriously in Spain.
He takes care of Spanish Go players and is very enthusiastic to teach Go. He is also an important person for popularizing Go in Spain.
`In Spanish, one is uno. Two is dos. Three is tres. Beer is cerveza. When you order beer, you should say with Tohoku accent. Dousuru bessa?'
`Aho is garlic and baka is beef in Spanish. So stir fry beef with garlic is baka no aho itame in Japanese.'
We were attracted by Mr.Tanabe's exquisite and unique talk and by the depth of history and culture we visited a cathedral, a castle of bellver, and the monastery of Valledemosa where Chopin and George Sands who ran away from France stayed. We were very satisfied with Mallorca Island.
The castle of Bellver
The monastery of Valledemosa
Friendship Tournament
However, the main event of this trip was a friendship tournament with the local Barcelona Go Club at a Chinese restaurant which is used for the club's regular meetings.
40 Japanese players and about the same number of Spanish players participated. The tournament was heated and the games were exciting. Mr.Mikami came from Madrid for support and took care of the players.
Left:Mr.Cesar Right:Mr.Mikami
The result was the Spanish team won against the Japanese by close games. But winning or losing does not matter. This tournament which people got together through Go made me happy. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves heartily and they played close games of Go till after midnight as if they were sorry to part.
Since the Go Club at the Mathematics club of Barcelona University started 2 years ago, the number of Go players, mainly students, has been increasing.
The Go club is supported by a very strong Go player, Mr. Sanchez Cesar, 4 dan, the president of the Spanish Go Association and his party. Also, there is a group, MOYO Association, whose activities are to popularize Go to beginners and children. Even though those groups' direction of activities is different, there is a wonderful environment to carry out those activities and they cooperate with each other. And those activities are helping to popularize Go gradually.
I am looking forward to visiting Barcelona again.
This trip brought together cheerful and wonderful Go friends and we had tasty meals and nice sunny weather, luckily, despite the bad weather forecast.

Q&A of Yuki Shigeno 2 dan go
2003.12 december
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